Yesterday morning, I woke up a little late.Sunset in Spain Okay, I actually woke up around the same I time I do every weekend, somewhere around 7:30 am, however something had changed. It was really 8:30 am, and I realized I was on the right side of the clock again. I had hit my mental benchmark for winter.

Daylight Savings Time, Spring forward, Losing an extra hour of sleep, whatever you may call it, the sun now comes up an hour later according to clocks, which means it sets an hour later. To some people, this may not mean a lot. I used to think it didn’t matter too much, but when you live in Maine, and the sun sets at 3:30 pm during December, you start to wonder when you can get out from behind the darkness. When you can leave work, and get home, and it is still light outside.

It’s a mental barrier that some people have to face, and others never realize. Once I hit daylight savings time, I know the winter is practically over. Never mind the 8 inches of snow still sitting in my yard, or the 3 feet piled up in front of the house. It’s light until 7pm. Sure, the sun is just coming up now at 7am, but I’m already in the car heading to work. I’m fine with a little extra darkness to sleep in during the morning right now, because soon enough, the sun will be high in the sky by 6am, a feat most people that never visit Maine in the summer will never experience.

What is a Mental Benchmark?

A mental benchmark is like any other benchmark, however it is mostly for a mental state of mind. Like a benchmark, you want to see how you are doing against an average, norm, or previous personal experience, so you line up what you are currently doing with what you have done in the past. It is easy to see that this time last year, you had gone to the gym 50 times already this year (great for you if that’s true by the way!). But how were you doing mentally? Were you in the path of all that snow? Were you ready to move to Florida? Or, were you happy to be where you are, and enjoying life no matter where you were or how dark and cold it was outside? Setting a mental benchmark can mean the difference between feeling a need to flee the city/state/country you’re in, and realizing that the worst is over or the best is yet to come.

Knowing that I’ve hit my mental benchmark of DST, I have officially decided it is now Spring. Okay, it will officially be in a week and a half, but I’m ready now, so I’ve mentally set it as spring. I shaved off my winter beard this morning, and I’m ready to break out the golf clubs. I’ve toughed it out for another winter, and can face anything the rest of this year in Maine has to throw at me. Mentally, I’m prepared. Physically? Well, let’s just say I’ve got my gym clothes in the car to prepare for beach season.

Question: What Mental Benchmarks do you set, either knowingly or unknowingly, for a week or month?

Mental Benchmarking

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